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Guide for applicants, Part 2: PCT procedure before the EPO (Euro-PCT Guide)

 
 
Requirements specific to applicants with neither residence nor principal place of business in an EPC contracting state - "non-resident applicants"
465
Applicants having neither their residence nor their principal place of business within the territory of one of the EPC contracting states must be represented by a professional representative and act through him in all proceedings established by the EPC.[ 32 ] In such cases a professional representative must be appointed in due time.
466
Two categories of professional representative have the right to practise before the EPO: 
any professional representative entered in the directory of professional representatives maintained by the EPO[ 33 ], and
any legal practitioner who is qualified to practise in patent matters in one of the EPC contracting states and has his place of business in that state.  
467
However, up to expiry of the 31-month time limit under Rule 159 EPC, non-resident applicants may either comply with any requirement themselves or act through a professional representative entitled to practise before the EPO. This means that a non-resident applicant may himself, within the 31-month time limit, for example sign and file EPO Form 1200, submit amendments, file a translation of the application, etc.
468
Non-resident applicants who did not themselves take the required steps for entry into the European phase within the 31-month time limit may subsequently perform these and the other procedural steps (e.g. filing of a request for re-establishment of rights) only through a professional representative entitled to practise before the EPO.
469
The only exception to the rule that after expiry of the 31-month time limit non-resident applicants must act in the procedure before the EPO as designated/elected Office through a professional representative is that payments to the EPO can be validly made by anybody. 
GL/EPO A-X, 1
470
Under no circumstances can an applicant act through his agent appointed for the international phase if the latter is not a professional representative entitled to practise before the EPO (see point 466). Further, if such representative is the appointed agent for the international phase, he is not automatically appointed for the European phase. A separate appointment is necessary (see point 113).
471
The only case in which a new appointment need not be made is if the professional representative was validly appointed in the procedure before the EPO as receiving Office, ISA or IPEA and the appointment expressly extends to representation in the European phase (see point 113).
472
Non-resident applicants are therefore strongly advised to appoint a professional representative before the EPO in good time, i.e. before they initiate proceedings before the EPO as designated/elected Office, and to indicate this appointment in Form 1200, Sections 2 and 3 (see points 476 ff).
473
If no professional representative is appointed for the proceedings in the European phase, any communication issued by the EPO as designated/elected Office will be notified to the address of the applicant.